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21 March 2017 | Beth Crane

Machine Learning Masterclass #8: The Future of Machine Learning

We have reached the end of our Machine Learning Masterclass series. Throughout this series, we have given an introduction to Machine Learning, investigated the tools being used to implement it, and explored how it is already being used in digital and video. We have looked to the future of Machine Learning in e-commerce and SEO and now to finish, we tie together these themes and explore the future of Machine Learning for your business.

The Future of Machine Learning

In line with many of our conclusions throughout this series, McKinsey’s 2016 Analytics Study identifies ways in which Machine Learning could have the greatest impact across a range of industries. The study highlights that Machine Learning has the propensity to revolutionise certain industries across a variety of different use cases. Among those use cases with the highest opportunity are: enabling autonomous vehicles, personalising advertising, optimising pricing and scheduling in travel and logistics, predicting personalised health outcomes and optimising merchandising strategy. Real-time optimisation and problem-solving will without doubt also have a huge impact for many businesses. But, how will businesses gain access to Machine Learning solutions which are traditionally seen as complicated and out of reach?

Future of Machine Learning across industries and case uses

Industry responds to Machine Learning demand

Currently, the likes of Google, Amazon and Telsa are leading the way in the Machine Learning game. However, we predict that ‘off the shelf’ Machine Learning solutions will become more readily available for smaller businesses as time goes on. And they’re already on the rise with IBM’s Watson being a prime example. Instead of building from scratch, the Watson data platform gives businesses and developers the opportunity to utilise its ‘cognitive technology’. For example, Watson can help businesses develop a chatbot.  McKinsey’s report also notes that recruiting and retaining analytical talent is extremely difficult. So, in line with an increasing demand for ‘off the shelf’ solutions, businesses will need to continue building talent and skills in AI and Machine Learning.

IBM Watson and the Future of Machine Learning

The Internet of Things becomes commonplace

The Internet of Things (IoT) is another buzzword constantly cropping up in the digital world, although it’s definitely not new. IoT is an inter-connected network of physical (often everyday) items with their own IP addresses. They are embedded with sensors to transmit data and information using their internet connectivity. Being able to control your home’s heating system from your phone is a good example of how IoT is starting to roll out. Even your fridge could start letting you know you need to pick up milk on your way home – the possibilities are endless! Where does Machine Learning come into play here? Throughout this Masterclass, we’ve highlighted how Machine Learning is used to drive insights from huge volumes of data which would be near impossible for humans to analyse. Machine Learning and cloud-based applications are therefore crucial in crunching the data recorded by IoT sensors. IDC estimates that the IoT market will be worth more than $1.7 trillion by 2020, meaning that these ‘smart’ devices will become universal and integral to many businesses.


So, to conclude our Machine Learning Masterclass, we predict that platforms and applications for ‘off the shelf’ Machine Learning solutions will increase in the coming years, following IBM’s model. And these will open up Machine Learning and IoT to businesses who are not in the super leagues of Amazon and Google. One of the most crucial ways in which Machine Learning will underpin business is by providing analytical solutions in real-time to improve customer experiences. In this sense, we predict that chatbots, personalised customer recommendations and improved forecasting will become more widespread in e-commerce. In our own industry, social media engagement prediction and ‘suggested’ solutions to audits could soon become the norm.

Tamar predict growth of chatbots


We hope you’ve enjoyed our Machine Learning Masterclass. We’re interested to see the developments unfold over the coming months and years and to see how our predictions play out. It’s without a doubt that Machine Learning will play an ever-increasing role in our everyday lives.

Beth Crane

Beth Crane